I hope that the hon. Member for Bradford, East (Mr. McLeavy), will forgive me if I do not follow him through all the many twists and turns of an argument which I believe to be entirely fallacious; but before I make the point on which I wish to speak, I would observe with regard to his argument about the increase in the number of vehicles if the 25-mile limit is abolished, that it seems to me that the increase in the number of vehicles since the war is very largely the result of the policy of the Labour Government in restricting the small private haulier to a 25-mile limit. Whereas many small firms in the past employed the local small private haulier for the occasional long-distance journeys which their goods required, now each such firm has a C licence instead, thus increasing the number of vehicles and the drivers necessary to carry their traffic.
It seems to be argued by hon. Gentlemen opposite that it is unwise to do anything to give greater freedom to the road hauliers, because it seems to be assumed that the road haulage section of the nationalised industry is the most profitable part. But one glance at the accounts of the Third Annual Report of the British Transport Commission for 1950 show that that is a wrong argument. Whereas the carriage of passengers, goods and freight by rail earned a profit of £26,330,000, the British Road Services showed a deficit of £1,106,000 for the same period.